Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Hills Hit Houston Part One

For Father's Day weekend, Chris' immediate family came to Houston. It was a wonderful visit!

Because there are five of them and two of us, it's usually easiest for Chris and I to drive to Baton Rouge... so it was really nice to have the chance to host them.

The weekend started off low-key. The family drove in a few hours before dinner so we had a chance to catch up, laugh and do some cheers/toasts.

Here are Justin and Jeremy with their (unplanned) matching outfits:
Tootie (Justin and Laura's dog) also visited:
I think she came because she wanted to play with Gordon, but my anti-social dog wanted none of that. Poor Tootie!

I prepared a really tasty (if I do say so myself) entree from the Williams Sonoma catalog: Rolled Flank Steak.
Although easier than it looks, it's impossible (I think) to make it look as pretty. But I tried my hardest!
Later we tried (unsuccessfully) for a group shot at dinner:
The evening turned to night which turned into late night... it's always nice to tell stories and laugh with the family. 

The next morning we went on various shopping excursions... but not before taking two cute pics.

One of the ladies:
And one of the men:
That night, Chris and I took them to a Houston tradition... which I'll tell you about tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June Super Supper

With summer comes lazy days and crazy nights... or at least the memory of when that was true! So, the Supper Club decided to change it up a bit with our usual "Thursday's at the Hill House" routine.

Step one was having Ashley host at her Summer Home. She's house-sitting this summer in a large, eclectic house in our neighborhood. What fun!

Step two was hosting on a Friday. This ensured that everyone could arrive late and stay as late as they pleased without worrying about a 6am wake-up call the next morning.

The changes seemed to be successful! As was (most of) the meal!

Michele brought a lovely salad-- Summer Watermelon Salad with Honey Orange Vinaigrette (p. 117)
 I made the Cambert and Pecan Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa (p. 56) 
Let me tell you-- NEVER again! 

The salsa (which goes on top) wasn't difficult:
But the Camembert cheese was a nightmare to "peel off the rind and cut into cubes". Ha!
It was like a Martha Stewart instruction. Seems so easy. But turns into disaster!

We finally figured it out (kind of) and prepped the Quesadillas for the skillet:
All in all it was a tasty dish (and delightfully different) but it was not worth the prep (the skillet part wasn't the easiest either). Maybe just maybe I'd make it for fewer people. But chances are low. 

On the other hand, Ashely's dish was tasty and not impossible!
Seared Sesame Tuna (p. 161)

Although seared, it wasn't as bright pink as you see in this photo. Sashimi grade tuna isn't cheap-- but it's delicious!

All in all a nice buffet:
And a colorful plate!
But wait! There's more! Carol made these a-maz-ing perfect for summer cookies!

Lemon Coconut Cookies (p. 227)


All meals come from the Houston Junior League's cookbook: Peace Meals. If you don't have it, get it! And try out some of these recipes! But maybe steer clear of the Quesadillas... or... try them and tell me what I did to make it so complicated!!

Can't wait for next month for another Super Supper Club: Summer Edition!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Houston's Beer Fest

Aaaaaand we're back. Sorry for the break (my mom's been dropping hints like crazy!). 

My friend Ashley is a bundle of energy.
She is constantly finding new and interesting things to do in Houston. Like a few weekends ago... when she invited a group to try out the Houston Beer Fest.
Beer Fest is on the lawn in front of the mayor's office which made for a very interesting scene!
Yep. That's a guy swimming in the fountain in front of the mayor's office.
And those ladies are playing volleyball in the same fountain.

We were a bit more low-key about the fountain, but still had a great time!
And even though the heat and crazy crowds ensured that this will be my only time at Houston's Beer Fest... it was still worth the Saturday afternoon to enjoy some time with great friends and superb people watching.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day and the 9th hour

Last Thursday was a lazy one for Chris, Kdog and I. We were on three different sofas with three different lap tops doing three different things. I'm sure the boys were researching sports statistics  or more efficient grilling techniques... I was joining and learning about pinterest.com (find me, I'm katiekomo!).

It was around 7:30pm when I heard ping alerting me to an e-mail. It was from a fellow etsy member who had the perfect Father's Day gift idea pop into her head... three days before Father's Day! I don't know the whole story, but from what I gather... her dad's dad said a quotation that has been mentioned in the family more than once since, "If you don't straighten out, then you'll be diggin' ditches for a living."

I'm guessing her dad did straighten out because now he owns a very successful business with lots of employees (including her). Her idea was to put that quotation in vinyl in his office. Never forget where you came from, yes?

So after a few hours of choices being thrown back and forth, we landed on this proof a few minutes shy of midnight:
And the next morning I cut it and brought it to the post office. One overnight shipping envelope later and the vinyl was on the way to Florida! Now, I'm a plan B kind of person, so I was a little nervous at what might happen if it didn't arrive in time or was damaged or something. I literally had NO plan B!!

I was able to exhale when I got an e-mail the next day-- it had arrived and was being put-up!
(Brilliant use of tape to ensure the words were straight!)

And it turned out quite nice:
Now, a plan B is good for gifts to. And my fellow etsy member also had no back-up plan. She just put it up there and waited for Monday morning. Hoping not to get fired for breaking into the boss' office and doing some wall decorating!

But he loved it! Well... he didn't hate it. And that's a big thing for Father's Day presents. What is it about men that makes them SO hard to shop for??

Often when I'm creating items for others with etsy, I think about how the finished product will be used or displayed. What a treat to not only get to see my product's final destination, but to hear the story behind it!

So a Happy Father's Day to Mr. Serra. He's sure got a thoughtful daughter!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Royal Wedding of Texas Part Three

As all the bridesmaids and the bride headed to the church, we giggled and joked and basically tried to keep Lindsay from crying (tears of joy!).
Once we got to the church, there was some question as to whether Brent was hidden away in the "groom's room" so I guarded the bus until the coast was clear:
Thankfully, it was clear, so no one had to see my funny face. (uh...)
The happy bride!

We then paraded through the church and into the Bride's room.
Where we saw this gorgeous bouquet!
Of course there was a little primping:
And some memory preservation (also known as photographs and videos!):
The ceremony was amazing. Beautiful flowers, beautiful bride, beautiful music...

And then the party started!
Breathtaking room!

Hilarious groom's cake:
And an amazing band! A-maz-ing. I need a better word. Best band I've seen and I've been to quite a few wedding and quite a few Mardi Gras balls.

I'll leave with another shot of the tables at the reception:
After the ceremony I welcomed Lindsay to the "married ladies club" and I look forward to the new adventures that we'll have (with each other, with our husbands... and just maybe with some bambinos!).

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Royal Wedding of Texas Part Two

On the morning of Lindsay's wedding, the bridesmaids met up at the Omni for a morning of hair:
And a little silliness:
And a little game I like to call... where's the bride!
There she is! Having a little time of reflection:
Lindsay had gifted us with the most darling bags:
And matching robes and slippers!

It was a fun morning with the ladies as we were pampered, we chit-chatted, giggled and noshed on tasty foods:
All too soon, it was time for us to line up and head out. I'm sure we made for quite a site!
I have a few more behind the scenes photos of the fabulous day... and I'll be posting them on Monday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Royal Wedding of Texas Part One

Another big event that happened between Disney trips was the wedding of my childhood bestie, Lindsay!! I was honored to be the the Maid of Honor and got to enjoy all the happiness, laughter, memories (and a tiny bit of stress) during the wedding weekend!

The weekend started with a Bridesmaid's luncheon hosted by my mom and I. We had ordered a floral arrangement earlier in the week and I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out:
Lunch at the League with the ladies was the perfect way to start the weekend. 
And my favorite wedding gift idea...
A money tree! It's cash, folded up and put in a planter. Brilliant!

Later Lindsay and I ran some last minute errands where she wore this awesome get-up:
And still later we rehearsed the ceremony:
These are all random snapshots taken by the bridesmaids, so I don't have any from the Rehearsal Dinner, but it was delicious and so much fun! They had a really cute slideshow and the toasts were poignant. 
Afterwards Lindsay and I went back to her childhood home for a slumber party. Tomorrow I'll post "behind the scenes" photos from the wedding day!